Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs :: Defining Arab Literature and Determining its Main Features
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Defining Arab Literature and Determining its Main Features

1.     Arab literature is the lead of the nation and a responsibility before Allah Al Mighty.

2.     Arab literature is committed and the commitment of the literary is spontaneous derived from his commitment to his religion, and his message is part of the Islamic message.

3.     Literature is an important path to build a righteous person and a society, and a tool for the Allah summoning and defending Islam.

4.     It is responsible for contributing in saving the Arab nations from its modern crisis, and Islamic literates are leaders in this subject.

5.     It is the truth since the emergence of Islam, and is derived from the inspiration and the Prophets’ guidance, and moves from the eras to our present era to contribute in the summoning of Allah Al Mighty, and fighting the enemies of Islam and infidels.

6.     Arab literature is the literature of the Islamic people of different nationalities and languages, and its characteristics are technically joint between the literatures of the Islamic people.

7.     Islam provides to people in their lives and universe – as we find in the Arab literature – origins of complete theories in literature and critique, and they exist in the Islamic literature productions across the continuous centuries.

8.     Arab literature refuses any attempt to cut off the connection between old literature and new literature aiming at development or modernism, and sees that Al Hadith is connected to it old origins.

9.     The Islamic literature refuses corrupted theories and literatures, and fake Arab literature, and the critique literature that is based on suspicions, or personal grudges, as it refuses the critique language distorted by ambiguity, and calls for a clear and constructive criticism which works on guiding the way of literature and the fixating of its origins.

10. Arab literature is comprehensive and its completeness is not achieved without standing together.

11. It is open to modern literary arts, and presents it to the people, and it is free of anything that contradicts the religion of Allah Al Mighty, and is enriched with the noble values and proper guidance of Islam.

12. The official Arab language is the first language in Arab literature which refuses general language and fights the spreading of it.

13. Arab literature hold the responsibility of the nation’s intellect and emotions, and connect fulfill this unless it is based on what is correct, and its Islamic knowledge is enough.

14. Islamic literates are complied with Islam and its values and are committed to its principles and examples.  

Islamic Literature: “is the technical expression that aims at the reality of life and the universe and humans expressing what derives from the Islam vision of Allah Al Mighty and his creations”

Its beauty and amazement is what is required, as the beauty of the phrase and lightening are two main principles for each literature, so what if Islam was derived from the Holy Book and affected by the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH)?

And we required in this literature welcoming new horizons, multi-sided as it includes human kind in his emotions and desires, his hopes and pain, his good qualities and bad, his life and death, and includes life with all of its joy and hardships, and bases and values, as it includes the universe with it its earth and seas, its land and skies, and nature with its soaring birds, and wandering animals and beautiful spring, and stormy winters, and so on.

Based on this, Islamic literature doesn’t include only religious subjects, rather its is more generic and comprehensive, and for the picture to become clearer and the difference between it and the opposing literature to Islam is obvious, we must present some literary examples that show both kinds.

Look at this beautiful piece of poetry in which the spirit of Islam was described.

This is Atahama the wife of Abi Al Darda’ who got older, and her hearing and sight became weak, and one morning her son approached her and she said: Did you pray? He said: Yes, and I was upset for being late in my prayer, and it was from the beautiful worships, so she said speaking to herself:

Atham is forgetful

I cry for the time of prayer

Make the prayer weep if in one day you wept

Make the Qur’an weep with tears in your eyes

Today you do not read it unless you are with its reader

I miss being youthful the way I lived my whole life

This modern poet “Ahmad Muhrram” shows the glorious image of the Companion of the Prophet who put up a tent on one of the sides of the Prophet’s Mosque to heal the wounded Muslims who have no family or relatives to care for them, and he said:

“Rafeeda” teach people sympathy and up rise the position of your people

Allah greets you warmly

Take the wounded and do right by them and wander around them little by little

If it is time to sleep to not sleep for the repetitive voice calls

Help the unsleeping with their wounds which keep them awake and suffer

The guests of Allah are with you we remember the blessings of the Gardens

Rafeeda make effort as life does not reward those who linger

And this Islamic poet Yusuf Al Atham writes to his cousin and friend Hisham Al-Athem this great piece and sent it to him while he was in Mecca and imagined him while he was going back and forth between Al Safa and Al-Marwa:

“Hisham” I heard amidst the pilgrims and your soul cheering at Al Safa

You were greeted and your hands sweating with Zamzam

Between your ribs a heart that cheers and responds and your circulate around Al Bait

You bow to Allah asking mercy and in your hands the Holy Book

My heart calls upon you congratulating you on Al Haj

As for the literature that is against Islam, there is many and especially in field of poetry. Listen to Al Mutanabi while he proudly says:

Where will I rise up, which Greatness should I have faith in?

And everything that Allah created and did not create

Despised in my determination like a part of my hair

The poet says – as Al Abkary says – he stayed an infidel for despising the creations of Allah and sent Prophets and the Angels.

Shawqi says in this poem entitled “Damascus”:

I believed in Allah and his garden Damascus is the soul and gardens and basils


And it was too late for him to believe that paradise is a right and that hell is a right.

And this is Khair Al Deen Al Zarkali who says in his poem “Najwa”

If they showed me my nation as an idol I would worship it

In this verse, there is belittlement of Allah’s religion, and ignorance of what came in Allah’s Book, as alcohol, gambling, statues and damans are of the filthy works of satin.

What are meant by statues are the idols that were indicated by the poet.

And when we chose these versus that contradict Islam to provide those who are the less further away from the religion of Allah, and we stayed away from the poetry of Bashar Bin Bard and Hammad Ajrad and Waleya Bin al Habbab, and Abi Nawas, and Al Hussein Bin Al Dahak; in the poetry and in the antithesis of Jareer and Al Akhtal and Al Farazdaq what shakes the emotions of Muslims.

Finally it is said:

What is your position from this poetry that is derived from the soul of Islam and does not express its goals, but at the same time does not contradict or offend?

And to answer this question we say: We stand neutrally regarding this literature, and we do not prevent or crucify it, we find technical richness in it which we refer to when needed and we depend on it to fill the gaps.

Written by Dr. Mohammad Ali Rizq Al-Khafaji

He did (AHMS) on 2/1/1995, and he worked as a professor in literature, critique and rhetoric fields, and the head of the Arab language department in the Literature Faculty in Asyut University, the branch of Sohaj, and he left behind a huge critique and literary heritage the most important of which is eloquence…etc. he was born in the village of Al Khatatba in Al Buhaira province.

1.     Ahmad Mahrram a talented Islamic poet who rose above poets in his time in his collection of poems entitled “Glory of Islam”, he died the year 1366 Hijri.

2.     Yusuf Al-Atham a modern Jordanian poet, and former deputy in the parliament, and founder of the Al Aqsa school in Jordan and its General Manager, and from what he left behind was “Quatrains from Palestine” and the “Collection of Al Jihad Poetry” from which we took this verse.

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